Support

Support

We've put together some helpful tools to assist you in your weight loss journey. Below you will find helpful PDFs that are available to download as well as FAQs and readings.

Keeping track of your progress can help ensure you stay motivated on your journey to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

  • Adjusting To A New You

    The transformation you're about to begin with the Gastric Banding Procedure isn't likely to be just physical. Weight loss through surgery can affect so many aspects of your life, and leave you with so much to think about, that your emotional progress may be just as significant as your weight-loss progress.

    Your post-surgery lifestyle — exercising, follow-up doctor visits — may mean taking more time for yourself. And while you deserve it, having less time for family and friends may require setting boundaries that make you uncomfortable initially. Seeing you change how you look and what you eat may also make your loved ones uncomfortable, or be hard for them to accept at first.

    You may start feeling differently about yourself, as well as within yourself. You may become more positive and confident, but may not be sure how to express these new feelings. You may feel anxious.

    Other people might also start treating you differently. Perhaps they'll notice you more, or show you more respect. And as good as this feels, it may also upset you to recall how people treated you when you were overweight.

    Finding ways to express and address your emotions can help make your transition a more enriching, positive experience. You can seek assistance from your healthcare professionals or a support group for gastric banding patients.

    There is a community of thousands of people who have gone through what you are going through. So many of them are eager to share their stories and offer their support. You can join them online or in person. Ask your surgeon if a group meets in your area.

  • Immediately After Surgery

    Now is a good time to set your expectations for the next several weeks
    You should know that the first month after surgery is a healing period. It is more important to let your stomach adjust to the Gastric Banding Procedure than it is to lose weight in the first few weeks. Don't worry if you don't see significant weight loss right away. Remember, for successful and healthy long-term weight loss, studies show that losing a steady 0.5-1kg per week is optimal.

    Weight-loss results will vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you lose will depend on several things. Most importantly, the Gastric Band needs to be at the right fill level, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. This doesn't happen overnight.

    In general, you'll want to follow the advice of your surgeon and/or dietitian about the foods you eat. With their guidance, in a few weeks you will slowly be able to move to solid food - and start seeing steady weight loss.

    Be aware of symptoms that may signal a potential complication
    A Gastric Banding Procedure has a low rate of complications. As with all surgeries, there are some potential risks for complications after surgery. It's important to know the difference between normal body reactions to the surgery - like soreness at the incision site, gas and difficulty ingesting liquids - and signs and symptoms of a potential complication, such as:

    • Daytime or night-time reflux (regurgitation or heartburn)
    • Vomiting after meals
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Pain
  • The First Few Days

    Water and liquids and walking
    Right after your operation, you can take an occasional sip of water or suck on an ice cube. Any more than this may cause nausea or regurgitation. The day after your operation, you can drink a bit more water, but again, only a small amount at a time.

    In the next few days, along with water, choose clear, thin, broth-type liquids that have enough calories to help compensate for the food you're not able to eat. You can drink liquids such as fruit juices, sports drinks or yoghurt. If you're unable to keep any fluids down, cutting back on how much you're drinking should help. But if frequent or persistent regurgitation occurs, report it to your doctor immediately.

    In these first few days, you'll also want to walk around as much as you comfortably can to regain your strength and prevent blood clots. For more physical exercise, give yourself 2-3 weeks to recover first, and then take it slowly. While you may be ready to resume all your normal activities and start a new exercise program in 4-6 weeks, you should consult your doctor beforehand to ensure that your planned activity level is appropriate to your stage of recovery.

    What about food? 
    After the procedure, you will require a new, temporary diet for recovery. Your surgeon and/or dietitian can help you with the eating and lifestyle changes you need to make, so be sure to discuss these changes with them thoroughly.

    A new diet is essential to your adjustment progress. It allows your body to adapt to the change, and allows the Gastric Band to remain in the right position. It may take a month or more for this process to happen. During this time, especially in the early weeks, you'll want to keep from stretching the small area of stomach above the band. Regurgitation can stretch this area — and can also increase the chance of your stomach tissue slipping up through the Gastric Band.

    Regurgitation
    Almost all Gastric Banding Procedure patients will regurgitate at least once in their first week or two after surgery. But regurgitation at this early stage is a matter of not being able to keep liquids down. As you get used to living with the Gastric Band, regurgitation should stop or become much less frequent.

    One or two episodes of regurgitation in the first couple of weeks are fairly common, but even so, they should only occur when you've taken in too much liquid and/or when you've been drinking too quickly. To help prevent or reduce the likelihood of being unable to keep liquids down, drink very slowly and be careful not to drink too much at once. More persistent or unexpected regurgitation should be reported to your doctor to rule out the need for an adjustment, or the possibility of a potential complication.

  • Eating In Week 1

    Stick to a liquid diet
    The goal during this early post-operative period is to allow your body to adjust to the gastric band. Continue drinking water to keep hydrated, and add thin liquids that can be tolerated. Recommended liquids during this phase include:

    • Nutrition or meal replacement drink
    • Clear broth or puréed soup (with no lumps of vegetables or other food)
    • Low-fat, unflavoured milk
    • Low-fat yoghurt
    • Unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice
    • Low-calorie diet drinks/smoothies
  • Eating In Weeks 2 And 3

    Transition from liquid to solid
    After the first week, you may start to transition from liquid to solid foods. This must be done slowly to avoid vomiting. Initially the liquid-type foods can be gently thickened, and by the end of this 2-week period you can eat more solid meals. Foods in this stage may include:

    • Thicker soup such as pumpkin soup, puréed lentil soup
    • Puréed or mashed fruit (canned or fresh)
    • Mashed vegetables
    • Porridge or dry breakfast cereal made soggy with extra milk
    • Smooth savory mousse
    • Puréed meals
    • Be careful to serve small amounts, take small spoonfuls, and eat very slowly to help reduce any risk of regurgitation or discomfort.
  • Eating After Week 3

    Begin to experiment with a wide variety of foods, but chew well
    Your meals can now include tender, cooked foods such as fish, tender cuts of chicken (such as thigh), mince meats, slow-cooked meat stews or casseroles, and tender-guaranteed cuts of meat. Make it a habit to chew these foods thoroughly. If you have dentures, be sure to cut your food into small pieces beforehand. If you don't follow these precautions, you could experience nausea, stomach irritation and swelling — even an obstruction at the opening of the stomach. Advancing to heavier foods may also cause vomiting, which can increase the chances of band slippage, or stretching of the small area of stomach above the band.

    If you have any of these problems with soft foods, stop eating them and go back to the liquid diet you had earlier. Then you can slowly add solid foods again. Once you have established a diet based on solid foods, you should stay with this permanently and avoid calorie-containing liquids. Be sure to ask your doctor or dietitian for advice specific to your situation.

  • The What And Why Of Gastric Banding Procedure Adjustments

    An optimally-adjusted Gastric Band assists weight loss by providing a prolonged feeling of fullness, even after meals. The Gastric Band is connected to an access port, which is fixed beneath the skin of your abdomen. The access port allows your surgeon to adjust the band to meet your particular weight loss needs and progress. These adjustments are a normal part of your medical follow-up.

    By inserting a fine needle into the access port, saline solution can be added to (or removed from) the band to find the right fill level for your band. If saline is added, it inflates the inner surface of the gastric band – this “tightens” the band by increasing the pressure at the top of the stomach. In contrast, if saline is removed this “loosens” the band, reducing the pressure at the top of the stomach. The Gastric Banding Procedure journey is different for each person, as is the exact amount of fluid required to assist you in your weight loss journey. Ideally, post-adjustment, the band should be just tight enough for you to lose weight gradually. You can learn more about achieving this balance — or being "in the Green Zone". 

    If your band is too loose, it could mean that you won't lose enough weight each week to reach your weight-loss goals. In this case, the doctor may tighten your band, which will help reduce the amount of food you eat and help you feel full sooner and stay full longer. On the other hand, if the band is too tight, you'll choose liquid calories and may not lose weight, or you'll experience too much regurgitation. In this case, the doctor may loosen your band.

    In addition, if you were to become pregnant, and your nutritional needs increase, the band could always be adjusted to help support your new diet.

    Adjustments can be made either in the hospital or in a doctor's office. Your surgeon may use X-ray to assist in locating the access port, to guide the needle into the port and to view the insertion of the needle.

    Note: Only a trained clinician can adjust the Gastric Band. Never let an untrained clinician or a non-medical person adjust your band. To avoid complications or damage to the Gastric Band, never try to make any adjustments yourself.

  • The First Adjustment

    When implanting the Gastric Band, it's typical for a surgeon to leave the band empty to allow your body to adapt. During this time — the first few weeks after surgery — be especially careful to avoid regurgitation, because it puts unwanted pressure on this area.

    Once you’ve had a chance to live with the Gastric Band for a few weeks, you and your surgeon may want to make an adjustment to the band to meet your specific weight-loss needs. Your first adjustment usually takes place 4-6 weeks after surgery, but this can vary from patient to patient.

    To get the best results, you may need additional adjustments in the months to come. An ideal saline "fill" level should result in the band being just tight enough to let you lose weight gradually. In other words, you should be able to eat enough to get the nutrients you need while still reducing the overall amount you need to feel satisfied.

  • Additional Gastric Banding Procedure Adjustments

    To achieve your goals, you may need additional adjustments over time. During each, a very small amount of saline is added or removed from the Gastric Band. The exact amount required to reach the Green Zone differs from person to person.

    The Green Zone chart can help recognise which zone you might be in;

    • The Green Zone is the optimal zone for gradual, healthy, long-term weight loss.
    • If you're in the red or yellow zones, it's time for an adjustment.

    A Gastric Banding Procedure is an effective way to obtain steady weight loss, and adjustments are an important part of this process. But there's no hurry to have an adjustment before you're ready.

    Remember, slow and steady does it
    Gradual, steady weight loss with the Gastric Banding Procedure can be healthy for you. Losing weight too quickly creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems. The goal is to have weight loss that prevents, improves or resolves health problems connected with obesity.

  • Some Easy But Important Rules

    These 9 rules for eating, drinking and exercising will help you achieve your goals with the Gastric Banding Procedure. Remember, your success depends on how willing you are to work with your Gastric Banding Procedure and embrace a new way of life.

    Eating smart is the key to your success. Sometimes that can mean choosing different foods. It can also mean enjoying some old favourites, but in moderation. A Gastric Banding Procedure is designed to get you started living healthily ever after. Here's what you need to know.

    1) Eat only when you are hungry — about three small meals a day
    When your band is optimally adjusted, you should only need to eat around 3 small meals per day. It is important to recognize that if you are not hungry, then you shouldn’t eat. Ensure you are not snacking between meals. 

    2) Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
    Food can pass through the band, only if it has been chewed into very small pieces. Always remember to chew your food very well and take more time for your meals. Try to make each meal last for 15-20 minutes.

    3) Stop eating as soon as you feel full
    Once you have eaten enough, your body receives a signal that you feel full. However, it takes time for you to become aware of this signal. If you rush through your meal, you may eat more than you need. This can lead to nausea and vomiting. Take time to eat and enjoy your meal. Try to recognise the feeling of satiety, and then put your utensils down.

    4) Try to avoid eating between meals
    If you must eat between meals, plan something small like a piece of fruit to take the edge off your hunger. Don’t just casually nibble and graze on snacks. Indiscriminately eating snacks between meals is one of the major reasons for weight-loss failure. It is very important to break this habit. Patients with proper "fill" levels should not feel hungry in between meals. If you do, this may be a sign that the Gastric Band is too loose, and you should tell your clinician. You may drink zero-calorie liquids between meals.

    5) Eat only good-quality, nutritious foods
    Your meals should be high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Don’t eat junk food that lacks vitamins and other important nutrients. Avoid foods high in fat and sugar. Instead, choose fresh vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy and wholegrain cereals. Be careful with fruits as they contain quite a lot of sugar. Ask your doctor or dietitian before you take any vitamin supplements.

    6) Avoid fibrous food
    If you  chew or cut your food up well and your Gastric Band is adjusted properly, you should be able to eat virtually anything. However, fibrous food can cause problems for some people. Foods that contain many fibres, such as asparagus, can block the stoma. That's because you can't chew it well enough to break it up into small pieces and your saliva can't break it down. If you would like to eat asparagus or other fibrous foods once in a while, be sure to cook them well, cut them into very small pieces and then chew them thoroughly.

    7) Drink enough fluids during the day
    You need to drink large amounts of liquid every day. Water makes up a big part of your body’s composition. Water is used in every cell to ‘run’ your body and you need to replace it each and every day to excrete waste products.

    8) Drink only low-calorie liquids
    Drinks, including those containing calories, simply pass through the narrow outlet created by the band. If you drink high-calorie liquids, even healthy ones like fruit juices, you may not lose weight, even if you otherwise follow your diet. You should only drink water, tea or coffee without sugar, and zero-calories.

    9) Try to be active for 30-45 minutes, 3-5 days per week
    This rule is important. Physical activity burns calories and is important to successful weight loss. And don’t be intimidated by strenuous exercise regimes. Find activities that are rewarding and fun for you. After all, if you’re not enjoying it, you won’t keep doing it!

  • Gastric Banding Procedure, Your Healthcare Team And You

    Success is a team effort
    As you move forward, keep in mind that the Gastric Banding Procedure doesn't work on its own. Success comes when you, your healthcare team and your Gastric Band all work together. And the partnerships you develop with your surgeon and clinicians are the key to that success.

    Communicating with them when questions or concerns arise — and following their advice and instructions — is always the right thing to do. They have developed insights from helping many Gastric Banding Procedure patients. And their collective experience may help you. Always feel free to discuss your feelings with them.